Religion News in Brief

Saturday November 17, 2012

Sunday, Nov. 18

Worship in North Bennington

NORTH BENNINGTON -- The North Bennington Congregational Church welcomes all to its 11 a.m. worship service on this Thanksgiving Sunday. The sermon, "Thanks Be to God For the Work of Christ," will be based on Mark 13:1-8, Hebrews 10:11-25 and Philippians 4:4-9. There will be a children's time, after which Sunday school classes will meet for pre-school through grade 8.

Following the service, everyone is invited to stay for coffee hour and a time of fellowship. The church is located at 8 Bank St. in North Bennington and is wheelchair accessible from the back door at the parsonage driveway. For more information, call the church office at 442-5161.

'Birth Pangs' at Second Congregational Church

BENNINGTON -- In the midst of busy, tumultuous days, come and be reminded of who you are and whose you are. Sunday morning worship takes place at Second Congregational Church, UCC, on Hillside Street at 10 a.m. Worship includes a Time for the Children in All of Us. Children up through grade 5 are then dismissed for Godly Play and the middle- and high- school class meets. Nursery care is provided throughout worship. The Rev. Mary Lee-Clark's sermon this week is entitled, "Birth Pangs," and is based on the readings from 1 Samuel and Mark 13.

A time of fellowship and refreshment for the whole church family will follow in Webster Hall.

The Pre-Advent Book Sale concludes this Sunday, and the famous Second Congo necklaces made from recycled bulletins and beads will be on sale.

Second Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, welcomes all people of faith or in search of faith, without regard to age, race, sex, economic condition, disability, or sexual orientation. Its building is wheelchair-accessible, and hearing-assistance devices are available. For more information, call the church office at 442-2559 or visit 'Outside Looking In' at the Federated Church

EAST ARLINGTON -- Who and what we appear to be to those who don't know us will be the focus of the service of worship at the Federated Church of East Arlington on Ice Pond Road at 10 a.m. on Sunday.

The sermon to be offered by the Rev. Kathy Clark is titled, "Outside Looking In." Scripture lessons include Psalm 16, Hebrews 10:11-25 and Mark 13:1-8. It will also be the day on which we gather and consecrate our stewardship pledges and tithes for 2013. The choir will be led and accompanied by Music Director Mary Edwards.

All children 3 to 10 will begin the morning in the worship service and then proceed for the Children's Program in Bailey Hall. Coffee hour will be a time of food and fellowship immediately following the service in Bailey Hall and includes an opportunity to financially support Holy Joe's Café, which provides coffee to the ministry of presence of U.S. chaplains serving in Afghanistan and on bases and ships around the world. Sock-It-To-Me Sundays is an opportunity to bring new items to support the work of the school nurses at Fisher and Sunderland Elementary Schools. Items needed include socks, underwear and sweatpants.

On Tuesday, Nov. 20, the entire community from throughout Bennington County is invited to the Thanksgiving Service sponsored by the Interfaith Council of the Northshire. The service begins at 7 p.m. at the Federated Church. The message will be delivered by the Rev. Dr. Steve Jewett, pastor of the First Baptist Church, Manchester. Special music will be offered by the Interfaith Choir and the offering gathered will go to the Emergency Needs Fund of the Interfaith Council. Those attending are also encouraged to bring non-perishable food items for the local food pantries. A reception in Bailey Hall will follow the service.

Senior meals are served on Tuesday and Thursday at noon in Bailey Hall. To participate in the ride share program, call the church office at 802-375-2548. For more information, visit or like us on Facebook.

The Federated Church of East Arlington maintains denominational ties with the United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church. Its mission is "To welcome all, follow Jesus Christ together, and live God's Word with compassionate service."

Cambridge United Presbyterian activities

CAMBRIDGE, N.Y. -- Cambridge United Presbyterian Church, 81 East Main St., holds its Sunday worship service at 10:30 a.m. with Pastor Kate Kotfila. All are welcome.

Ladies' Bible Study is a monthly Bible study that meets Tuesday evenings, in the Brieman upper level meeting room at 7 p.m. The workbook is titled "Seasons of Our Faith." The class will continue on the third Tuesday of each month. For more information, call Martha Waite at 518-677-5163.

On Saturday, Dec. 8, the Christmas Goodies Sale will be held, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be food, crafts and books.

An Advent study will be led by Kotfila from Dec. 2 to Dec. 23. All will be welcome and more information will be forthcoming.

The Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry is a Christian non-profit ministry dedicated to providing food, compassion and guidance to all those in need. It is located at the Cambridge Embury Methodist Church and is open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon and Wednesdays from 1 to 3 p.m.

For information about these activities and working teams, call the church office mornings at 518-677-3863, email, or visit

Recital postponed

BENNINGTON -- Donald McMahon's recital Sunday, Nov. 18 at Sacred Heart Saint Francis de Sales Church has been postponed.

Monday, Nov. 19

Embury Unit of United Methodist Women will meet

CAMBRIDGE, N.Y. -- Embury Unit of United Methodist Women will meet on Monday, Nov. 19, at 7 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall of the church. The meeting will begin with a time of fellowship over dessert and coffee or tea.

Jane Kopta will present the program -- World Thank Offering. Joan Smith, president, will hold a business meeting after the program. All women are welcome.

Embury United Methodist Church is located at 41 East Main St.Telephone: 518-677-3602. For more information about the church and our activities, visit us on the web at

St. Mark's Episcopal Church fundraisers

HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. -- The members of St. Hilda's Guild of St. Mark's Episcopal Church on Main Street in Hoosick Falls are sponsoring their annual Thanksgiving Pie Sale. Freshly baked pies will be ready for pickup the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. The 9" pie flavors are apple, pumpkin, chocolate cream with a Graham Cracker crust, or chocolate cream with a chocolate cookie crust. They cost $9 each. To order or for more information, call Anne Conway at 518-686-7064.

Also, the Thrift Shop of St. Mark's Episcopal Church is open every Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. We have a large selection of children, women's and men's clothing, many of them brand new.

The shop will sell all the clothing you can fit in a provided bag for $3. The shop also has an assortment of household items. Coats are free.


Pope now has Twitter feed

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- He already has a billion followers.

Now, Pope Benedict XVI will join the Twitter-sphere, tweeting from a personal account along with the world's celebrities, leaders and ordinary folk.

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi made the announcement Thursday, saying details about Benedict's handle and other information will come when the Vatican officially launches the account, perhaps before the end of the year.

The 85-year-old Benedict sent his first tweet from a Vatican account last year when he launched the Vatican's news information portal, aimed at the world's 1.1 billion Catholics. The new Twitter account will be his own, though it's doubtful Benedict himself will wrestle down his encyclicals, apostolic exhortations and other papal pronouncements into 140-character bites.

Benedict, who writes longhand and doesn't normally use a computer, will more likely sign off on tweets written in his name.

Gay-marriage supporter denied confirmation

BARNESVILLE, Minn. (AP) -- A teenager who posted his support for same-sex marriage online has been denied a Catholic rite of passage at his northwestern Minnesota church, his family said.

Shana Cihak said her 17-year-old son, Lennon, wasn't allowed to be confirmed at Assumption Church in Barnesville last month after posting a Facebook picture of himself with a political sign he altered to oppose the marriage amendment on Minnesota's ballot. Voters on Nov. 6 rejected the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

Assumption Rev. Gary LaMoine told The Associated Press Thursday that the teen was not denied confirmation but declined to explain, calling it an "internal and pastoral" matter.

"Some people chose to run out into the public and put it out in the media," LaMoine told the AP, adding that he was consulting with the Catholic Diocese of Crookston about the issue.

Shana Cihak tells The Forum she was called into a private conversation with the priest after the Facebook photo was posted and was told her son wouldn't be allowed to complete confirmation. Lennon has gone to church every week and volunteered around the community in preparation for his confirmation this year, Shana Cihak said.

Lennon said other students in his confirmation class "liked" the photo on Facebook, but they were still allowed to be confirmed.

"I just thought it was wrong to single him out," his mother said.

Her husband, Doug Cihak, said the family is not allowed to participate in Communion at Assumption. He insisted that he's not mad at LaMoine, explaining that the priest is just a "messenger" of the church.

Lennon said the experience hasn't altered his faith.

"I don't want the church to be put down. I don't want the Catholic religion to be put down," he said. "It's just the way the priest has things running. He's so strict. He won't loosen up about things."

Shana Cihak said she was confirmed at the same church, but doesn't plan to return to Assumption.

Church attendance is part of probation for Okla. teen

MUSKOGEE, Okla. (AP) -- A 17-year-old from Muskogee has been sentenced to attend church for 10 years as part of his probation for a manslaughter conviction.

Tyler Alred was sentenced Tuesday in Muskogee County District Court after pleading guilty in August to first-degree manslaughter in the December 2011 auto accident that killed 16-year-old John Luke Dum.

Alred cried while apologizing to Dum's family in court and hugged Dum's father as both began to sob.

Authorities say Alred registered 0.06 and 0.07 blood-alcohol content after the crash. The legal limit is 0.08 -- but Alred's amount is considered under state law to be driving under the influence of alcohol because he's underage.

Defense attorney Donn Baker said the church requirement is unusual -- but he won't challenge it and that Alred currently attends church regularly.

Bosnian Muslims have new spiritual leader

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) -- Bosnia's Muslims have inaugurated their new spiritual leader who will replace the man who led them for nearly two decades.

Husein Kavazovic took his post Thursday in Sarajevo as the head of the Bosnian Islamic Community, which counts more than 2 million members. He is expected to be as open-minded and devoted to the principles of so-called "European Islam" as his predecessor Mustafa Ceric was.

Ceric, who served the maximum two terms in role, led Bosnian Muslims for 19 years without allowing them to radicalize even though they were the main victims of the 1992-95 Bosnian war. His idea of European Islam is based on efforts to harmonize Islam and European secular values.

300-pound statue of Hindu god Shiva stolen from temple

WAYNE, N.J. (AP) -- Police say someone stole a 300-pound statue of the Hindu god Shiva from a New Jersey temple the night before the Indian new year.

The Indian Cultural Society Hindu Temple and Mahatma Gandhi Center in Wayne is planning to offer a reward for information leading to an arrest.

The statue was discovered missing Wednesday morning.

The statue, which is valued at $6,200, is made of a five-metal alloy that contains copper gold and silver.

Shiva is believed to decide whether a soul is to remain with the gods or to be reincarnated.

Temple member Sanjay Desai called the theft heartbreaking.


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